The Unique Citrus Aroma of Sorachi Ace Hops

When it comes to , the choice of plays a crucial role in determining the flavor and aroma of the final product. One variety that stands out from the rest is Sorachi Ace, a legendary and unique hop developed in Japan. With its distinct citrus fruit, herbal, and dill aromas, Sorachi Ace has become a favorite among craft brewers worldwide.

Sorachi Ace hops were created in 1984 by Sapporo Breweries, Ltd. in Japan. This hop variety is a result of crossbreeding Brewer's Gold, Saaz, and Beikei No. 2 male hops. The intention was to develop a hop with a flavor profile that would elevate beers to new heights.

The characteristics of Sorachi Ace hops are truly exceptional. While primarily used as a bittering hop, they also possess intense lemon flavors and aromas. Picture yourself sipping a cold, refreshing beer on a hot summer day, and you'll understand why these hops are so highly regarded. The lemon notes are so prominent that they make Sorachi Ace an ideal choice for any summer beer, whether it's a saison, , or wheat beer.

But the uniqueness of Sorachi Ace hops doesn't stop at lemon. There are additional flavor and aroma nuances that make this variety truly special. Some brewers have noted hints of dill, , and coriander in beers brewed with Sorachi Ace. These delicate undertones add complexity and depth to the overall flavor profile, making it a versatile hop for various beer styles.

Unfortunately, the future of Sorachi Ace hops is uncertain. Despite their popularity, the annual harvest of these hops has been declining due to a lack of successors in the industry. The aging of hop growers and the absence of new talent entering the field have led to a significant decrease in production. If no action is taken soon, the availability of beer brewed using Japanese hops, including Sorachi Ace, may disappear in the near future.

Craft brewers around the world have embraced the unique flavors and aromas that Sorachi Ace hops offer. The lemon and herbal character of these hops can bring a refreshing twist to classic lagers and pilsners, while also adding an intriguing element to pale ales and IPAs. The subtle hints of coriander, dill, and mint make Sorachi Ace a versatile ingredient for experimentation and creativity in brewing.

Sorachi Ace hops are a rare gem in the world of brewing. Developed in Japan and known for their intense lemon flavors and aromas, these hops have gained popularity among craft brewers for their unique characteristics. However, the decline in the annual harvest of Japanese hops, including Sorachi Ace, poses a threat to their availability in the future. It is essential for the industry to address this issue and ensure the preservation of these flavorsome hops for future generations of beer lovers to enjoy.

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What Is A Sorachi Beer?

A Sorachi beer is a type of beer that is brewed using a specific variety of hops called Sorachi Ace. Sorachi Ace hops were developed in Japan in 1984 by Sapporo Breweries, Ltd. and are a cross between Brewer's Gold, Saaz, and Beikei No. 2 male hops.

Sorachi Ace hops are known for their unique and distinct characteristics, making them a popular choice among craft brewers. They have a citrus fruit aroma, reminiscent of lemons and oranges, which adds a refreshing and zesty note to the beer. Additionally, they have herbal undertones, giving the beer a complex and flavorful profile.

One of the interesting aspects of Sorachi Ace hops is their dill-like aroma, which sets them apart from other hop varieties. This dill aroma adds a unique twist to the beer, making it stand out among other brews.

Due to the limited quantities of Sorachi Ace hops available, Sorachi beers are not as widely produced as some other beer styles. However, they are highly sought after by beer enthusiasts who appreciate their distinct flavors and aromas.

A Sorachi beer is a beer that is brewed using Sorachi Ace hops, which offer a citrus fruit, herbal, and dill aroma. Craft brewers value Sorachi hops for their unique qualities and use them to create beers with a distinct and memorable flavor profile.

Where Are Sorachi Ace Hops From?

Sorachi Ace hops originate from Japan. They were specifically developed for Sapporo, a well-known brewery in Japan. These hops are highly regarded for their unique and legendary qualities. The distinct flavor profile of Sorachi Ace hops includes a refreshing lemon and herbal character, making them ideal for use in traditional lagers and pilsners. However, they can also be incorporated into pale ales and IPAs to add a touch of uniqueness. In addition to their lemon and herbal notes, Sorachi Ace hops are often described as having coriander, dill, and mint flavors. These hops have gained popularity among brewers due to their exceptional taste and versatility in various beer styles.

Does Japanese Beer Use Hops?

Japanese beer does use hops. Hops are an essential ingredient in the brewing process of beer, and they contribute to its flavor, aroma, and bitterness. Hops are used to balance the sweetness of and provide a distinct and unique taste to the beer. They also act as a natural preservative, helping to extend the shelf life of the beer.

In Japan, the use of hops in beer production has a long history, dating back to the late 19th century when beer brewing techniques were introduced to the country. Japanese brewers have developed their own hop varieties that are suited to the local climate and taste preferences. These Japanese hops have a unique flavor profile and contribute to the distinctive character of Japanese beers.

However, it is worth noting that not all Japanese beers use hops in the same way. Traditional Japanese beer styles, such as -based beers like happoshu, may use alternative ingredients instead of or in addition to hops. These alternative ingredients can include rice, corn, or other fermentable sugars.

Hops are an integral part of the brewing process for Japanese beer. They contribute to the flavor, aroma, and bitterness of the beer, and Japanese brewers have developed their own hop varieties to create unique and distinct beers.


Sorachi Ace hops are a truly unique and legendary variety that add a distinctive flavor and aroma to beers. Developed in Japan for Sapporo Breweries, these hops offer a refreshing and citrusy character that is perfect for summer beers. With intense lemon notes, along with hints of dill, tea, coriander, and even mint, Sorachi Ace hops provide a complex and refreshing profile that can enhance a wide range of beer styles.

While primarily used as a bittering hop, some brewers also utilize Sorachi Ace for its flavor contributions. Its lemony and herbal qualities make it a great choice for saisons, IPAs, wheats, and even classic lagers and pilsners. The versatility of these hops allows brewers to experiment and create unique and exciting brews.

However, it is important to note that the availability of Sorachi Ace hops is limited. The aging of growers and a lack of successors has resulted in a decline in the annual harvest. This raises concerns about the future of beer brewed using Japanese hops, including Sorachi Ace. If action is not taken soon, we may see a disappearance of this exceptional hop variety from the brewing scene.

Sorachi Ace hops offer a one-of-a-kind flavor experience with their intense lemon, herbal, and even dill characteristics. Craft brewers continue to appreciate and utilize these hops, but their limited availability poses a challenge to their long-term existence. Let us savor and appreciate the unique qualities of Sorachi Ace hops while we still can, and hope that efforts are made to preserve and cultivate this remarkable variety in the future.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.